NASA Budget Reaction: Where’s the Beef? Edition

Reactions are beginning to come in concerning the President’s budget proposal for NASA. Highlights thus far:

  • Commercial Space Federation is very pleased
  • The Planetary Society’s Bill Nye is channeling Clara Peller (NOT in a good way)
  • Aerospace Industries Association is wondering where the “Sputnik moment” is in this budget

Statements are reproduced after the break. I’ll update this page as reactions come in. Check back regularly.

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LightSail Gets a Ride to Orbit

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

PLANETARY SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE

NASA announced this week that the Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 solar sail mission is on their short list for upcoming launch opportunities. The missions selected are Cubesats destined for piggyback launches as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.

“This is great news,” said Louis Friedman, Program Director for LightSail-1. “Our spacecraft will be ready this summer, and we are hoping for the earliest launch possible.”

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Planetary Society Hails NanoSail-D, Looks for LightSail-1 Launch Opportunity

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society, which has a solar sail mission of its own in the works, is taking a keen interest in NASA’s NanoSail-D spacecraft that successfully deployed earlier this week:

NASA has now confirmed that their NanoSail-D satellite has deployed its 100-square-foot sail in low-Earth orbit. The Planetary Society’s own solar sail project, LightSail-1, will soon be finished and ready for launch. Bill Nye, Executive Director of the Planetary Society, congratulated the NanoSail-D team on their achievement:

“Congratulations! Although NanoSail-D kept us waiting, we’re very pleased that it has successfully deployed,” said Nye. “This could be the beginning of a fundamental improvement in how we de-orbit spacecraft.”

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Planetary Society Wishes NASA Well on NanoSail-D Mission

NanoSail-D (Credit: NASA)

Planetary Society Statement
by Louis D. Friedman

NASA’s Nanosail-D is scheduled to launch on Friday — and we wish them well. Nanosail is an innovative development by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight and Ames Research Centers, and in many ways is the inspiration for the Planetary Society’s LightSail spacecraft, scheduled to be ready early in 2011 to carry out the first solar-sail propelled flight in Earth orbit.

The spacecraft is the same size and approximate mass as our own Lightsail-1, although Nanosail’s sail is smaller (3 meters on a side, instead of 4.5 meters). Nanosail will be pioneering the use of the Air Force Research Lab’s TRAC booms, which we will also be using on Lightsail-1. We’ll be interested in evaluating their deployment experience and understanding any implications to our own design.

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Planetary Society: Congressional Plans for NASA’s Budget Lack Coherence

PLANETARY SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE

The Planetary Society has sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Minority Members of the four subcommittees currently considering the NASA budget and the Administration’s plan for human space exploration. The letter states: “We are concerned about omissions and a lack of coherence in the four committees’ versions of this bill.”

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Happy 90th Birthday to Ray Bradbury

PLANETARY SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE

The Planetary Society will present a giant birthday card to Ray Bradbury, a member of our Advisory Council, at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday, August 20, 2010. Bradbury will turn 90 years old on August 22, and the Council will consider a resolution proclaiming August 22 to 28 Ray Bradbury Week. Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, will speak on behalf of the resolution. A private reception honoring Bradbury will follow the council meeting.

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Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 Solar Vehicle Proceeding Toward Launch

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

As Japan prepares to deploy its IKAROS solar sail spacecraft, the Planetary Society’s Lou Friedman has published an update on the non-profit group’s similar effort, LightSail-1, which is set for launch during the second quarter of 2011. An excerpt:

The LightSail-1 spacecraft development is proceeding well. Our engineering team—led by Jim Cantrell—has completed the preliminary design and made critical decisions to select the hardware and subsystem for the final design—crucial milestones to building the vehicle that will demonstrate the value and potential of using sunlight alone to propel exploratory craft through space.

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Planetary Society Welcomes New NASA Budget

PLANETARY SOCIETY STATEMENT

NASA received both strong support and a new direction from the Obama Administration in the fiscal year 2011 budget proposal. The new funding – an increase of six billion dollars over five years – stands out in the face of a widespread government budget freeze. Among other noteworthy proposals is the major shift to commercially developed rockets for human space flight.

While many details are still to emerge, The Planetary Society welcomes the overall budget increase and other proposals by the Obama Administration for NASA, and urges Congress to use the Administration’s proposal to finally advance human exploration beyond Earth orbit and beyond the Moon.

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Planetary Society Cancels Lunch with Hawking, Buzz

stephen_hawkingThe Planetary Society has canceled a planned Jan. 23 luncheon to honor Stephen Hawking because the famed physicist is unable to fly to Pasadena, Lou Friedman writes on the society’s website.

Dr. Hawking has been advised by his doctors not to fly at this time. He is well — and still working in his office in the UK — but he’s unable to travel to California.

The Planetary Society had planned to present Hawking with the Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science. Friedman writes that the group will present the award to Hawking at another time.

The event was also to be an 80th birthday party for Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a long-time supporter of the society.

We’re making a giant birthday card to include everyone’s best wishes. If you haven’t already, you can send your message to Buzz online.

Send Your Name into Space Aboard Solar Sail Missions

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society is offering people the opportunity to send their names and short messages into space aboard two solar sail missions set for launch this year.

The Lightsail spacecraft is a project involving The Planetary Society. The IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun) will be launched by JAXA.

You can sign up on The Planetary Society’s website.

Planetary Society to Honor Stephen Hawking, Buzz Aldrin

stephen_hawkingPLANETARY SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE

Please join us to celebrate the achievements of two renowned heroes of space exploration, physicist Stephen Hawking and Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, at a luncheon in Pasadena, California on January 23, 2010.

The Planetary Society will present the Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science to Dr. Hawking, author of “A Brief History of Time” and host of the television series “Stephen Hawking’s Universe.”

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Japan Plans Solar Sail Launch Next Year

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

Two solar sailing trials readied for launch next year
Spaceflight Now

Japan is planning to launch an interplanetary solar sail mission called Ikaros next May. The Planetary Society will follow with its own demo flight by the end of 2010, the space advocacy group announced Monday in a statement written by Louis Friedman, the society’s executive director.

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Planetary Society Unveils New Solar Sail Project on Sagan’s Birthday

The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society
The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sail. Credit: Rick Sternbach/The Planetary Society

PLANETARY SOCIETY PRESS RELEASE

“We’re back!” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. “With an even more ambitious solar sail program than our last venture.”

The Planetary Society today announced LightSail, a plan to sail a spacecraft on sunlight alone by the end of 2010. The new solar sail project, boosted by a one-million-dollar anonymous donation, was unveiled at an event on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C on the 75th anniversary of the birth of Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan, a long-time advocate of solar sailing.

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